Brad Pitt, 55, feels Hollywood is a 'younger man's game'
Movie star Brad Pitt reflects on fame, his love-hate relationship with the industry and working with DiCaprio
Brad Pitt was in a great mood as he walked into the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills to talk about Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
And why wouldn't he be?
He is still one of the golden boys of Hollywood, he has a thriving producing career, and his latest film - which opens here tomorrow - received a standing ovation when it screened at the Cannes Film Festival. It has gathered rave reviews and is already a box office success.
Rumours of the US actor's retirement are clearly greatly exaggerated, although he admitted he is choosier about taking time off to do movies now.
The father of six children aged 11 to 18, whom he shares with former wife Angelina Jolie, said: "It is a big commitment to go and leave your family. A movie can be anywhere from three to six months, and 14-hour days are not uncommon.
"It's a younger person's game. And as we get older, I would be less interested to commit that kind of time to it."
He added: "I'm gonna do it as long as they let me do it. I just see it as not having the verve of a younger man."
At 55, Pitt still has the dazzling movie star looks that brought him to fame decades ago, even though the beard has white in it now. And he is in great shape because he plays fictional actor Rick Dalton's (Leonardo DiCaprio) unemployable stuntman in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and takes his shirt off in the movie, which is set in the Hollywood of 1969.
"I gotta be on the better end of shape. So I tried to eat right during the film. Get some exercise. And then when it's off, it's Shake Shack and pizzas."
This is the first time Pitt and DiCaprio have worked together, and when asked what that was like, Pitt replied, tongue firmly in cheek: "He is overrated."
He laughed and continued: "No, he's a great egg and I got a lot of respect for him coming into this."
"I mean, the mark he's left on cinema. His contribution already is pretty extraordinary. When you have someone of Leo's calibre, you know he's gonna be holding up the other end of the table and that's a relief."
Both men share a pretty similar career trajectory, coming into fame in the late '80s and early '90s.
"We're like '80s supermodels," Pitt joked.
"It is an industry that can chew you up and spit you out pretty quickly. But because of that, we have this instant reference point. We've both lost that freedom and privacy in a way. There's a lot we can relate to.
"And us doing this film, this story, understanding this camaraderie about an industry that we love and hate and ultimately adore, within a city that we love and hate and ultimately adore. It was really, really comfy from day one. And I think it shows. You can't fake that."
The relationship between actors and stuntmen is different nowadays, though. "I love stuntmen because they are doing the hard stuff and I'm in my trailer," Pitt said with a laugh.
"I'm the opposite of my friend Tom," he said, referring to Tom Cruise, who famously does most of his own stunts.
"Back then, (actor) Steve McQueen and (his stuntman) Bud Ekins were a historical combination. They were partnerships for an entire career. Now it's more transitory. We rely on stunt coordinators who have their own team."
Reflecting on the irony of two real-life superstars playing two on-screen has-beens, he turned philosophical.
Pitt, who lives in Hollywood "under the (Hollywood) sign", said: "What the story's really about is, where are you finding your worth?
"Leo's character is dealing with self-doubt, and mine is more at a place of acceptance and he's gonna make the best of whatever he's got and knows that he'll figure it out.
"Maybe this is just me being older, but to me, that seems to be the game - being human. And too often we get caught up in it, especially in our industry, it is very misleading that way. Which is a really empty shallow quest, instead of what's on the inside.
"That's my take on it."